Tuesday, August 9, 2022

4 Benefits of Apple Juice (And 5 Downsides)

  4 Benefits of Apple Juice (And 5 Downsides)




Whole apples are an extremely healthy food, but apple juice has pros and cons.

When apples are juiced, their hydrating quality is maximized, and some plant compounds are retained.

However, juicing reduces other benefits of whole apples, including fiber and the ability to satisfy hunger.

Here are 4 benefits and 5 downsides of drinking apple juice.

1. Supports hydration

Apple juice is 88% water and tastes good. This makes it easy to consume — especially for those who are sick and at an increased risk of dehydration (1Trusted Source).

In fact, some pediatricians recommend half-strength apple juice — a mix of half juice, half water — for sick kids who are mildly dehydrated and at least one year old (2Trusted Source, 3Trusted Source).

In a study of mildly dehydrated children with diarrhea and vomiting, those offered diluted apple juice were 6.5% less likely to need fluids delivered via their veins than those given a medicinal electrolyte drink (4Trusted Source).

Though electrolyte drinks are specially formulated to rehydrate, some children don’t like the taste and won’t drink them. They’re also relatively expensive.

Diluted apple juice is a practical and pleasant alternative for kids, as well as adults (4Trusted Source).

Be sure to drink diluted juice to rehydrate, as the high sugar content of full-strength juice can draw excess water into your gut and worsen diarrhea — particularly during recovery from illness (5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source).

In more severe cases of dehydration, medicinal electrolyte drinks are still advised. Though the amount of potassium in apple juice is similar to electrolyte drinks, it has little sodium, which is also lost via bodily fluids when you’re sick (1

2. Contains beneficial plant compounds

Apples are rich in plant compounds, particularly polyphenols. While the majority of these compounds are in the peel, some from the apple flesh are retained in the juice (7Trusted Source).

These plant compounds may protect your cells from inflammation and oxidative damage. Both of these processes are underlying factors in chronic conditions, including certain cancers and heart disease (8Trusted Source).

In one study, healthy men drank a 2/3 cup (160 ml) of apple juice, then scientists drew their blood. Oxidative damage in their blood was suppressed within 30 minutes of drinking the juice, and this effect continued for up to 90 minutes (9Trusted Source).

For more polyphenols, opt for cloudy juice — which contains pulp — rather than clear, which has the pulp removed (7Trusted Source).

One analysis found that cloudy apple juice had up to 62% more polyphenols than clear juice (7Trusted Source).

The majority of store-bought apple juice is clear in appearance, meaning you can easily see through it. Organic varieties are more commonly available in the cloudy form.

3. May support heart health

Plant compounds — including polyphenols — in apple juice may be particularly beneficial for heart health.

Polyphenols may prevent LDL (bad) cholesterol from becoming oxidized and building up in your arteries. Higher levels of oxidized LDL are linked to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke (10Trusted Source).

One study observed that when healthy adults drank 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) of clear apple juice daily for 6 weeks, their LDL (bad) cholesterol was 20% more resistant to oxidation compared to the start of the study (11Trusted Source).

additionally, when healthy women drank 1 1/4 cups (310 ml) of clear apple juice, the antioxidant activity of their blood increased nearly 11% within 1 hour of drinking the juice, compared to a placebo drink (12Trusted Source).

4. May protect your brain as you age

Preliminary studies suggest that apple juice may support brain function and mental health as you age.

Some of this protection may be due to the antioxidant activity of the polyphenols found in the juice. They may shield your brain from damage by unstable molecules called free radicals (8Trusted Source, 13Trusted Source).

In a series of studies, older mice were given daily apple juice that was equivalent to 2‒3 cups (480‒720 ml) for a human. When the mice consumed the juice for one month, they:

performed significantly better on

maze-based memory tests, compared to a control group that didn’t receive

the juice (14Trusted Source)

maintained brain levels of

Additionally, when people with Alzheimer’s disease drank 1 cup (240 ml) of apple juice daily for 1 month, their behavioral and mental symptoms — like anxiety, restlessness, and false beliefs — improved by 27%. However, memory and problem solving didn’t improve 

Further human studies are needed to confirm the benefits of apple juice for brain function and clarify how much would be needed for this purpose.

5 Downsides of apple juice

Juicing apples results in the loss of some benefits and creates potential health risks.

Here are the top 5 concerns related to drinking apple juice, along with ways to overcome some of them.

1. May contribute to weight gain

If you drink apple juice, portion control is essential. A 1-cup (240-ml) serving has 114 calories, while a medium-size apple has 95 calories (1Trusted Source, 18Trusted Source).

The juice can be consumed faster than a whole apple, which can cause you to take in a large number of calories over a short period of time.

Additionally, juice isn’t particularly good at satisfying hunger or helping you feel full. This may lead you to consume excess calories (19Trusted Source).

In one study, adults were given a whole apple, applesauce, or apple juice in equal amounts based on calories. Whole apples satisfied their hunger best. Juice was the least filling — even when fiber was added to it (20Trusted Source).

2. Low in vitamins and minerals

A 1-cup (240-ml) serving of apple juice is not a good source of any vitamins or minerals, meaning it doesn’t supply at least 10% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for any micronutrient (1Trusted Source).

That said, vitamin C — or ascorbic acid — is commonly added. In many cases, apple juice is fortified to provide 100% or more of the RDI for vitamin C per serving (25Trusted Source).

If not fortified, apple juice provides around 2% of the RDI for this vitamin per serving. For comparison, one medium apple averages 9% of the RDI (1Trusted Source).

If you eat a variety of whole fruits and vegetables, you can easily meet your quota for vitamin C without drinking fortified juice.

3. High in sugar — low in fiber

Choose 100% juice varieties rather than drinks that are a blend of apple juice, added sugar, and water.

Still, virtually all of the calories in 100% apple juice come from carbs — mostly from fructose and glucose, two naturally-occurring sugars (1Trusted Source).

At the same time, a 1-cup (240-ml) serving of juice — whether clear or cloudy — supplies only 0.5 grams of fiber.

For comparison, a medium apple with the peel has 4.5 grams of fiber — or 18% of the RDI — for this nutrient (1Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source).

Fiber, as well as protein and fat, helps slow digestion and promotes a more moderate rise in blood sugar. The combination of high sugar and low fiber in the juice can spike your blood sugar.

4. Encourages tooth decay

Drinking fruit juice is linked to tooth decay. Bacteria in your mouth consume the sugars in juice and produce acids that can erode tooth enamel and lead to cavities (27Trusted Source).

In a test-tube study that assessed the dental effects of 12 different types of fruit juice, apple juice was found to erode tooth enamel the most (28Trusted Source).

If you drink apple juice, avoid swishing it around in your mouth. The longer your teeth are exposed to sugar, the more likely you’ll get cavities. Using a straw may also reduce your risk of tooth decay (27Trusted Source, 29Trusted Source).

5. Contaminated with pesticides

If you drink nonorganic juice, pesticide contamination is another concern. Pesticides are chemicals used to protect crops from insects, weeds, and mold.

When the U.S. Department of Agriculture tested 379 samples of nonorganic, 100% apple juice, about half of them contained detectable levels of at least one pesticide (30).

Though these residues were below the limits set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, children are more vulnerable to pesticide exposure than adults. If your child regularly drinks apple juice, it’s probably best to choose organic (30, 31Trusted Source, 32Trusted Source).

Organic juice is also preferable for adults, as it’s uncertain how long-term exposure to small amounts of pesticides may increase your risk of certain cancers, fertility problems, or other health concerns (31Trusted Source, 33Trusted Source.

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